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Old 05-11-2013, 15:29   #16
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Re: Solar Panels

Not all autopilots are created equal, power-consumption wise. You have a hydraulic pump system on your Rassy, Some newer linear drive units draw much less power on average. How much you make the drive work, ie are the sails trimmed, and does the rudder take much to turn the boat, are big factors. We have humongous 24v chain drive on our new boat, but the boat requires very little wheel/rudder movement compared to our old boat, a wauquiez fin keel. That drive unit, however, required less power to operate. In short, it depends on the boat, the drive and the sailor.

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
Well, he did not say autopilot but I would imagine he'll have one. I use mine mostly at night and watch the power go down...down...down.
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Old 05-11-2013, 15:41   #17
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Re: Solar Panels

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Originally Posted by witzgall View Post
Not all autopilots are created equal, power-consumption wise.

SNIP

In short, it depends on the boat, the drive and the sailor.

Chris
It also depends on the wind, waves, current, and where you are. I just returned from a trip from Boot Key to the Dry Tortugas and back. While sail trip can reduce the corrections required by an AP some courses under some wind, wave, and current conditions make sail trim almost impossible; especially if you are continually getting headed or lifted.

Add in enough lobster pots that you can almost walk from one key to the next and you frequently have to stop and start the AP frequently.

Determining AP load has been a trial and error process for me, and I am still not sure how far along I am. But my take is AP, don't leave home without it.
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Old 05-11-2013, 15:42   #18
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Re: Solar Panels

I have a Autohelm 4000. and probably draws an average of 5-7amps. If I replace the hydraulic ram one day, I might go to a piggy-back hydraulic drive unit. Right now,m new sails are next years budget. I pay as I cruise, so I live with what works.
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Old 05-11-2013, 15:45   #19
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Re: Solar Panels

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It also depends on the wind, waves, current, and where you are. I just returned from a trip from Boot Key to the Dry Tortugas and back. While sail trip can reduce the corrections required by an AP some courses under some wind, wave, and current conditions make sail trim almost impossible; especially if you are continually getting headed or lifted.

Add in enough lobster pots that you can almost walk from one key to the next and you frequently have to stop and start the AP frequently.

Determining AP load has been a trial and error process for me, and I am still not sure how far along I am. But my take is AP, don't leave home without it.
This is what I run into also because I'm cruising. I get what I get with conditions. With an 8ft. swell every 11 seconds on the stern, I get rolled around, hours on end. Only twice in 600 miles did the AP get overpowered. But I now it was working overtime.
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Old 05-11-2013, 16:25   #20
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Re: Solar Panels

Wind generators are marginal performers unless you have constant wind > 15kts. If you don't meet this basic condition, you have installed a very efficient noise maker.
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Old 05-11-2013, 16:45   #21
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Re: Solar Panels

Here's a easy guide to determine what your usage is. The price of solar panels and related hardware has dropped BIGTIME in the last year or so. Its wasted energy to not use solar in my opinion.

Go Power! Calculator Tool | GPElectric
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